Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is a Nintendogs-inspired pet game that makes some new additions for it to stand out on its own.
Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is a spiritual successor to Nintendogs which released back on the original Nintendo DS. It is a pet simulator where you can raise and care for different breeds of dogs and cats, much like the title suggests. I have personally been looking forward to the game for awhile as I was an addict of Nintendogs back when everyone was playing it.
Jumping into Little Friends: Dogs & Cats, I was given an option to pick one of three dogs that were different of breeds and sizes: a Chihuahua, Shiba Inu, and a Labrador Retriever. Normally, I’m a fan of smaller sized dogs like Corgis and Pugs, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the big Lab so I took him to my virtual home.
Once I was done with the mandatory tutorials to get the game started I immediately tried to take my new dog, Alphie, out to play with a frisbee, or what the game personally calls “flying discs.” Once I started playing catch, the memories of my Nintendogs days came flooding back. I wanted Alphie to be the best and win all the frisbee competitions.
Back at home, there are numerous things that you can do for your pet such as feeding it and petting it. It was satisfying seeing Alphie’s friendship level grow time and time again. However, it was disappointing to learn that your pet can only gain ten levels of friendship a day. It made me want to play less because I felt no progression. Everything you do for your pet in the game raises their friendship, so once that is capped for the day, it stopped me from playing.
That being said it was nice to come back the next day to see how Alphie was doing and getting to play with him again. There was even a point where I jumped back into the game after a break and Alphie was starving and quenched. My heart sank making me think, “Oh no, my baby!”
While you can play the game with both Joy-Cons attached around your wrists, I experienced Little Friends: Dogs & Cats primarily in handheld mode because it felt like the right way to play. Whether it be mechanically or due to my time with Nintendogs, anything I did in the game felt more personal putting my finger on the tablet to interact with Alphie compared to utilizing only the Joy-Cons.
There is a solid variety of items in Little Friends: Dogs & Cats that you can buy ranging from pet clothes to house themes. The main thing I wanted to buy was a new house theme which felt like more of a traditional Japanese inspired household. Sadly, the price was five times the amount of what I currently had. Luckily, it was not hard to accumulate coins (the main currency of the game) because almost everything you do in Little Friends gives you coins whether big or small.
Having cats in the game is a welcome addition for those who are more of a cat person than a dog person. I was excited to interact more with the cats than the dogs since I have yet to try it before in past Nintendogs entries. That being said, I was somewhat underwhelmed by it because you cannot do as much with cats compared to dogs. It makes sense since dogs are more of an active, outdoor animal than cats, but I had hoped that more outdoor activities would be incorporated with the felines. The only way you can play with cats is through a cat wand mini-game and most of the time, the cat just sits there. It just isn’t as engaging.
Regardless of that, I liked taking care of my “little friends” and I can’t wait to play the full version of the game where I can see all the customizations I can make with my pets and our home. Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is a fun game that helps me relax, turn my brain off, and help keep my mind off things when necessary.
The full version of Little Friends: Dogs & Cats will be releasing later this month on May 28, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.